Preparation for the 46th season of Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball officially began Tuesday as the team held its first practice for the 2018-19 campaign.
The Lady Bulldogs enter the upcoming season with six of their top seven scorers and three starters back from last year’s squad that won 26 games. On Tuesday, head coach Joni Taylor met with media and talked about what she is expecting from her team during its first official workout.
“What I am looking for today is a consistent effort because today’s practice will be longer than the times we were able to practice over the summer,” Taylor said. “I am looking for great leadership from our upperclassmen and great energy from everyone. From the moment we start to the moment we finish, having a purpose in every single thing we do is a big focus.”
Among the returners this season is lone senior Caliya Robinson. The Marietta, Georgia native begins the year on pace to become the school’s all-time blocked shots leader. One of five finalists for the 2018 Katrina McClain Award and an All-SEC performer, Robinson needs 80 blocks to break Tawana McDonald’s program record of 297 in a career.
Joining Robinson is a talented sophomore class that made an impact last season. Georgia’s 2017 signing class was ranked ninth nationally by ESPN.com and that group of newcomers made an immediate difference for the Lady Bulldogs a season ago. Entering this year, that depth will further increase due to the addition of freshmen Donnetta Johnson, Kaila Hubbard and Caitlin Hose.
“I think you are going to see more depth,” Taylor added. “We started to see that last year with the freshman class we brought in. We also have Jenna Staiti who can play now, which is a tremendous help for us inside. We have options and we continue to have more options. Everyone understands that their role is equally important, so it also helps in practice to be guarding someone just as good as you because it challenges you to be better. When you walk out there knowing that is your spot or that you can beat the person guarding you every single time sometimes you relax. There is nobody out there relaxing right now.”
The Lady Bulldogs will join the Georgia men’s team for StegMania this Friday night at Stegeman Coliseum. Gates will open at 6:30 p.m., with festivities set to begin at 7:30 p.m. Following introductions of the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs, the women will conduct a 3-point contest, while the men will compete in a slam dunk event. Other contests and prizes will take place throughout the evening.